Vernon chamber lists concerns with federal budget

Budget's 'lack of focus'

There's good and bad in the new federal budget, the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce says.

Reacting to Tuesday's budget, the chamber says the federal financial strategy "provides some good news for entrepreneurs, but there is a lack of vision when it comes to economic growth."

"While specific details are still to come, the budget document contains a number of items that will have a positive impact on the business environment in the North Okanagan and across the country," says chamber general manager Dan Proulx.

"We are pleased to see that the government has negotiated lower credit card fees paid by small business (on an average of 27 per cent less), while we welcome movement towards a national supply chain strategy and addressing interprovincial trade barriers.

"Additional funding for tourism will also be beneficial in a region such as ours that is reliant on the tourism sector."

However, the chamber also has concerns about the budget.

"The government is forecasting gross domestic product growth of 0.3 per cent in 2023, and Canadians require a solid vision that will add vitality to our economy and create employment opportunities," says Proulx.

But that's not all. The chamber's other concerns include:

  • A lack of focus on ramping up housing construction, particularly as Canada attracts more immigration
  • The three per cent digital services tax will place another burden on business
  • The Air Travel Security Charge will increase, with funds going to passenger screening and baggage handling at airports. This just downloads these costs on to travellers and makes it more expensive to travel, impacting the tourism sector and facilities such as Kelowna International Airport
  • The alcohol excise tax is being capped from 6.3 to two per cent for one year. However, the federal government needs to bring taxes in line with the U.S. to encourage expansion of distilleries, cideries, wineries and breweries that strengthen tourism and agriculture

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